“And when they came unto the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.” (1 Chronicles 13:9-10)
A man reached out his hand to steady the ark of the covenant where, in the Old Testament, God’s presence dwelt. The ark was being transported along the way. The man, seemingly, was trying to do God, or the nation of Israel, a favor, because the ark appeared to be in danger of falling over. Instead, he gets killed. The Bible makes it clear that it was not an accident that he got killed. Instead, it says that “the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark.”
What kind of God is this who would do such a thing? And why would God do such a thing? Well, the long and the short of it is that this man Uzza was certainly not a sanctified, designated, priest. In the Old Testament, there were specific commandments given regarding who could, and who could not, touch or even come near the ark of the covenant. These laws were clearly broken when Uzza reached out his hand to steady the ark. Thus, Uzza was guilty of breaking at least one of God’s laws when he reached his hand to steady the ark.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” (Leviticus 16:2) Thus Aaron, who was designated, was not even permitted to come before the ark at all times, lest he die. How much less Uzza? The ark was to be treated as holy, because God himself dwelt there. Only certain people, at certain times, could approach it.
Who then could approach the ark? Who could approach God presence? No one who was not designated. No one who was not holy. Today, a parallel exists between those who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus (Christians), and those who have not (non-Christians). The Bible declares that those who are Christians have been made to be “kings and priests unto God” (Revelation 1:6). For those who believe, the veil that once separated the ark from the outside world has now been broken (Mark 15:38). Full access has been granted to come into God’s presence.
We don’t need to fear like Uzza, who was smitten by God on account of his not being holy. Today, if you are a Christian, God has made you holy, by the blood of Jesus Christ. As such, you are now a priest unto God, and have been given full access to enter into his presence at any time — this was something which not even the high priests of the Old Testament could do, for they had to wait until the appointed time. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
If you are not a Christian, then you still need to be “made holy” so that you will find favor with a holy God. Turn to him, in faith, and in repentance, for the forgiveness of your sins, for God will freely pardon. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
May the Lord bless you today as you consider these things.